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Games light up London landmark

China Daily | Updated: 2022-02-17 10:44
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Burlington Arcade in central London is decorated with art installations to portray the excitement of the ongoing Beijing Olympic Winter Games. XINHUA

Beijing 2022 exhibition enlivens arcade

Near Bond Street in central London, a centuries-old landmark has recently been transformed into a world of winter sports. Life-size figurines of snowboarders and skiers hung from the ceiling depict winter sports action, and large-print photos capture athletes in competition across the world.

Spanning the length of Burlington Arcade, a 179-meter-long covered shopping arcade that dates back to 1819, the art installations portray the excitement of the ongoing Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and even feature a bobsleigh for visitors to sit in.

"We just felt that while people can maybe not visit Beijing at the moment, we would create an Olympic atmosphere at Burlington Arcade," Trupti Shah, director of the arcade, told Xinhua.

"Because we follow global trends, because we have a global audience, this was a nice way to start 2022."

The installations were carefully designed to complement the historical landmark, according to Shah. Gesturing at a figurine facing a mirrored corridor, Shah said it was so lifelike, it was as if the skier was about to glide through.

In cooperation with Omega, the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games, the exhibition took months to prepare and is aimed at generating excitement before and after the Winter Olympics, Shah explained. "We want to uplift the spirits of everybody."

Located in London's affluent Mayfair area, with an entrance off Piccadilly, the arcade has a high footfall and is known for its luxury boutiques.

During the interview with Shah, the installations saw a constant stream of visitors, with many pausing to take photos.

Mark Lord, head beadle at Burlington Arcade, wears an Olympic pin while giving historic tours of the over-200-year-old shopping thoroughfare. He said he watched the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, describing it as "spectacular".

"I see the marriage between the culture and the technology, the history and the future. That's what impressed me most," he told Xinhua. "What an incredible experience it would be to go to China, not just to Beijing to see the Olympics."

Shah also watched the ceremony. "The Olympic spirit is to bring solidarity, friendship," she said, adding that she visited China in 2019 and was amazed by the experience.

"The food was incredible. People are wonderful, very friendly," she said.

The winter sports-themed installations are not the first time for Burlington Arcade to host activities related to China. The arcade has a close relationship with the local Chinese community, Shah said. It sells mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Festival and promotes products featuring Chinese calligraphy during Chinese New Year.

Wei Jing, head of brand partnership at the arcade, told Xinhua that whenever a major Chinese festival is around the corner, the team will try to bring the country's traditional culture to the arcade.

"With the activities, we want our Chinese friends to feel at home," she said.


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